This weeks guest blog is written by 25 year old Journalist and Blogger, Tahmeena Alam.
Your voice is the most powerful tool you possess.
As a young, Muslim female from a working class background, born to first generation immigrants, I thought the odds were against me. But I soon came to realise that I possessed the most powerful tool of all – my voice.
I chose the path of Journalism long before I knew the value of my voice, and somewhere along the lines, amidst the growing animosity towards Muslims and immigrants, I came to acknowledge it’s strengths.
Being both Muslim and female, I was part of both groups whose voices often get ignored. I always wanted to be heard, but most importantly I wanted to be listed to – an attribute passed on from my mother, but there was a stark difference.
My mother, an immigrant from Bangladesh, couldn’t speak English, she was a “stay at home” mother, with responsibilities as a mother of five which were beyond my own comprehension.
But I, I had the gift of privilege. I faced none of the barriers she faced; English was my first language and I had the advantage of education and access to all the resources the world had to offer.
I had no reason not to stand up, I had sat in the corner and listened for far too long.
It was my turn to be listened to.
And that’s where training as a Journalist came in to action.
I could counteract the negativity, give opinions from my perspective, whether one person or 50 people read it, it really didn’t matter. What mattered was I could speak about my concerns and no one could take that away from me. I’d finally found my voice.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself faced with different social issues that young girls and women have to deal with. I’ve found my voice but now more than ever, it is important for young girls to find theirs.
The current rhetoric surrounding the discussion of women is a strange one – from women being policed on their clothes, being told how to act to being denied basic rights.
“Shout a little louder, and shine a little brighter”
It is an extremely difficult time for young girls growing up. Body image is a big big problem, and mental health is prevalent within the young more than ever. But despite its difficulties it provides a unique opportunity for girls, especially young girls, to shout a little louder and shine a little brighter.
Young people are the future and it’s only fair they have a say in it. However, we can not have a future that’s bright for everyone, if the views of specific groups are being ignored or considered.
We are connected globally like never before with issues on a platform on a far grander scale, but equally as unaware of the problems that girls from different demographics face on a smaller scale. But young girls know what’s affecting them more than anyone, there is nothing quite as valuable as a first-hand experience.
However big or small the issue, every issue matters.
Every issue will resonate with someone somewhere, and that’s an achievement in itself.
We mustn’t let the voices of young girls fall between the cracks.
They’re more valuable than we’ll ever know.
Thank you Tahmeena!
Tahmeena studied Journalism at Cardiff University and has recently won Channel 4’s Rising Star Award! Tahmeena is very interested in and passionate about Politics, Women’s Rights and BME issues.
If you would like to write a guest blog for Full Circle Education, please contact Rebecca: firstname.lastname@example.org